Hundreds of hands help at-risk ecosystems
Conservation Volunteers jumping for joy at fall CV event, BC (Photo by NCC)
Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that came out this year to stand up for biodiversity by contributing over 3,100 hours of on-the-ground stewardship here in British Columbia.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Conservation Volunteers work almost exclusively in at-risk ecosystems to help ensure that the species that thrive there can continue to have a place on the planet. Conservation Volunteers spend time outdoors, getting exercise and having such a good time that we can forget that we are working hard and strategically and making positive impact on the landscape. Volunteers help NCC restore areas of high quality habitat so the land can remain a stronghold for species at risk.
In 2014, NCC's Conservation Volunteers accomplished outstanding results. Volunteers cleared hundreds of acres of invasive plants, planted thousands of native species, and created and restored countless homes for species at risk. The results certainly did not go unnoticed. Wildlife frequently came out to see what volunteers are up to and they have been documented moving back into areas that have been restored. Rare plants — including Triteleia howelii with its beautiful purple flowers — are becoming reestablished at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, as are the bright and beautiful western bluebirds.
Thanks to these efforts, seeds are once again being spread by western bluebirds. It seems that we all agree that the world is more beautiful when the bright pinks, yellows an violets of a Garry oak wildflower meadow are given the space to come alive.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for such an incredible season! Our 2015 events will include trips to James Island with a free boat ride to and from the island as well as numerous events with guest speakers, including ecologist Andrew MacKinnon and wildlife biologist Leah Ballin. Join the team!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to our BC volunteer event email list.
Featured volunteer events that helped to protect BC's at-risk ecosystems
Jasmin Dobson holds a warbler at the Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory (Photo by NCC)
Banding over 1,500 birds at Tatlayoko lake Bird Observatory
Conservation Volunteer are already registering for next summer's events at the Tatlayoko Lake Birds Observatory (TLBO). Volunteers help contribute to a growing body of international data that aims to evaluate the health and population trends of migratory birds, which is crucial for bird conservation. Volunteers, who work directly with professional banders, logged over 650 hours in 2014, helping with all aspects of research at the observatory.
Tending trails at Rattlesnake Bluffs
The help of volunteers and our event partners, the Kamloops Young Naturalists, is especially important on grasslands of the Southern Interior. Grasslands cover less than one percent of BC's land area while being home to approximately 30 percent of the province's species at risk. In 2014 we were able to improve the interpretive trail at Rattlesnake Bluffs, an easy-access conservation area in Kamloops that can help educate visitors about the diversity and importance of our native grassland ecosystems.
Nature scavenger hunt (Photo by NCC)
Foraging for flora and fauna at the Kumdis River Conservation Area
Volunteers helped increase NCC's biological inventory at our first-ever event at the Kumdis River Conservation Area on Haida Gwaii. The local knowledge and support was almost as exciting as the sandhill cranes that came to perform their ancient dances for us in the estuary of this important river. This event welcomed curious nature lovers of all ages to come out and explore this beautiful, ecologically dynamic conservation area.
Removing invasive species on many conservation areas
Clearing out invasive species is the most common stewardship activity that we do at Conservation Volunteer events. And no wonder! Giving flora and fauna a space to thrive takes more than just conserving habitat. Certain non-native plants introduced from elsewhere can spread rapidly because they generally have no native predators and are able to quickly out-compete natives species for space and resources.
In the areas where we work to remove invasive plants we almost always see native plants rebounding and reclaiming the area in very short order:
- Bobolink Meadows near Osoyoos got a makeover during our Marsh Madness event.
- Our Weekly Tuesday events are helping to heal the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve in Duncan.
- Volunteers helped clear out tonnes (literally) of invasive species at Chase Woods Protected Area in Duncan.
- Broom Bashes on James Island near Victoria are reclaiming the white sandy beaches for the benefit of some critically endangered species.
- At the Baikie Island Nature Reserve in Campbell River we worked to remove yellow flag iris.
Ecosystems at risk
All of these volunteer events aim to protect and enhance BC's at-risk ecosystems. You can learn more about BC's at-risk ecosystems, where they occur, what makes them special and how we an protect them at these links:
- Wetlands of the Southern Interior
- Garry oak ecosystems
- Grasslands of the Southern Interior
- Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems
- Coastal sand dune ecosystems
Partners in conservation
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.
Thanks also to Nexen, a presenting sponsor of the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Western Canadian Conservation Volunteers program.